Located in a mature residential area, Kilkenny County Council tasked C.J. Falconer & Associates (CJFA) to create a residential redevelopment of a site populated by a number of existing buildings, including the ‘Bróg Maker’ (a former pub & guest-house), and ‘St. Jude’s’ dormer unit – all of which is located adjacent to a busy road in Kilkenny, and is additionally bisected by an access roadway feeding an existing housing estate. A carpark area included on the site presented a noticeable gap – resembling a ‘missing tooth’ – which was crying out for a design solution to form a seamless integrated urban massing, and capable of providing new homes.
‘Pairc Nua’ is a scheme of 18 no., mixed 1 & 2-bed apartment residential units – including the provision of a fully accessible wheelchair unit – has been developed, which includes the converting of existing buildings, in addition to the constructing of new units. From CJFA’s earliest review, it became evident that the mid 1990s pub/guest-house building could be subdivided into apartments cost effectively – however, cost analysis of the early 1970s St. Jude’s unit, proved that it was more beneficial to demolish. This permitted the realignment of the bisecting roadway, and assisted in the opening-up / redesign of the rear existing carpark into a usable & passively supervised amenity/open-space – also increasing the area for the new-build element. The design is also enhanced with suitable landscaping, combined with the creation of a sense of community to provide ‘a proud sense of place’.
Following an extensive design and planning consultation process with the neighbouring residents and other stakeholders, the project was about to begin construction in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and associated public health measures were introduced by the Government. The project ultimately began construction on site in June 2020 based on a 14-month programme and progressed during this difficult period, becoming designated as an Essential Project (Covid-19). Despite industry difficulties with the sourcing of materials and personnel, through all parties working in a proactive and cooperative manner, the project completed construction in July 2021 within programme.
Cognisant of issues of fuel poverty, we have designed to ensure NZEB to the new build element, and a minimum A3 BER to conversion works – while high quality and low maintenance finishes to the buildings have been essential to minimise future building maintenance and running cost. From the outset, we have set ourselves a task on this project, of delivering an outstanding model housing scheme.